Sixth, all those who care for the work among the young people must pay attention to doing a personal work. The power and effect of doing a personal work with the young people are many times greater than the meetings. Big meetings do not have much effect on young people; individual contact is most effective. When you gather them together, usually all you can do is give them a message and at most a little work of revival. The emphasis of a genuine work with young people is individual contact. If you ask me, “Brother Lee, how would you do the young people’s work?” I would answer you by saying, “I can do it without holding any big meetings from the beginning to the end of the year but just absolutely working with them individually by personal contact.” It seems this way is fragmentary and wastes a lot of time. You may be able to contact only one person in an hour, and sometimes you may not be able to contact even one person after half a day. It seems time is pitifully wasted. Seemingly, this way is less effective than holding big meetings where you can speak to hundreds of people at once. Rather, experience tells us that holding big meetings is useless. If you hold big meetings all year round, there may not be much result. All you gain will be some shallow ones. Please remember, however, if you pay attention to individual contact, although you may not gain one person in a month or may gain only one person in two months, each one who is gained through your personal contact counts. Moreover, like you, he will contact others. You have gained one, but eventually this one will become two, two will become four, four will become eight, and eight will become sixteen, and every one of them will be solid. After some time you will see a great number of people gained.
I hope that all the ones doing the young students’ work, whether it is bringing them to salvation, helping them to be spiritual, or leading them to preach the gospel, will pay attention to individual contact. From 1946 to 1948, when we were in the regions of Shanghai and Nanking, we did not actually have any students’ meetings or young people’s meetings. Most of our work was carried out by individual contact, yet the result was quite good. If the brothers neglect individual contact and pay attention only to young people’s meetings, I can say with certainty that after having so many meetings, the young people’s work will end up with something that is only on the surface, like loose sand without foundation. It will not be able to produce any solid ones. If you want to produce solid ones, you must have personal contact. You must not be disappointed with anyone; rather, you would spend time to contact everyone individually.
Of course, in the matter of personal contact, skills are needed. But if you practice this matter seriously, gradually you will gain experience and insight. You will know which one among so many young people should be contacted and gained first. Later, after that one has been gained by the Lord, one thing is sure: Since you stirred him up in this way, he will go to stir others up in the same way. This is just like a machine with so many gear wheels; when one wheel turns, all the other wheels also turn. In this way, one by one will be affected, just like the unending multiplication of offspring. Therefore, you can see that even if there are no big meetings, many can still get saved and many can still be raised up to love the Lord. That is the time when you can begin to hold big meetings, and no matter what you speak they will receive it. Then the meetings will be one hundred percent effective. You will be able to gain solid young people and do a deep work in them.
When you have personal contact with young people, on the one hand, you need to have broad contact with them, treating every one of them equally; on the other hand, you need to have specific contact. What I mean by specific contact is that you need to exercise your spiritual insight and follow the Spirit’s leading to sense which ones, among so many young students, you should lead to the Lord first. Then you should spend your effort on them to help them receive the Lord’s salvation. In the same way, among so many young brothers and sisters, you need to feel and see which ones, once they are gained, will have impact on others. Then you should spend your effort on them first and help them to love and pursue the Lord. Once they are raised up, they will influence the other young brothers and sisters.
Therefore, in doing the work among the young people, on the one hand, you need to have broad contact with them, dealing with them in a general way; on the other hand, you need to have specific contact, helping the ones who can take the lead and influence others. If you gain one, I repeat, he will go and help others without your teaching him. Because you have helped him in this way, you will go to help others in the same way. As a result, one will become two, two will become four, and so on. This is like the ripple effect achieved by throwing a stone in the center of the water. The ripple will eventually spread to cover the entire surface of the lake. Then you can hold big meetings, and they will be effective. If you hold big meetings from the outset, there will be only a twenty percent effect, and the other eighty percent will amount to zero. If you are willing to start from individual contact and then go on to big meetings, the messages you give will be practical and the work you do will produce a hundred percent result.
All the points above are some of the experiences I have gained from touching the young people’s work in the past years. Any matter has its own intricacy and requires experience. In particular, matters such as leading people to salvation, helping people to love the Lord, and bringing people to serve the Lord are very deep and very fine, consisting of many intricate points. Yes, it is the Spirit’s work, but we all know that the Spirit needs the proper ones to coordinate with Him. Some can coordinate with the Spirit, but others cannot. Some are useful in the hands of the Spirit, but others are useless. We need to pay attention and study these matters when we start to do this work.
These six points which I have fellowshipped with you all are just an introduction. If you will take this fellowship and go on, you will learn more and make more progress. You will find better ways to lead the young people to the Lord to receive His salvation.
Brothers, I say again, the Lord has a great need for the young people. This generation needs many young people to rise up in a strong way to receive the Lord’s salvation and be led by the Lord to become useful vessels in His hands. May the Lord be gracious to us that in His work and in the church we will treasure the souls of the young people. Not only will we not hinder them or damage them, but we will aggressively attract them, perfect them, lead them, and cultivate them so that they will experience the Lord’s salvation and receive the Lord’s building up to become useful ones in the Lord’s hands. I truly hope that all the brothers and sisters will pray faithfully for this matter before the Lord for the future of the Lord’s work.
(How to Lead the Young People, Chapter 1, by Witness Lee)